TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith frequently gets compared to Tony Dungy.
That’s understandable because Dungy was the coach when Smith first joined the Bucs as linebackers coach back in 1996. They share similar personalities and philosophies.
But maybe we’ve been comparing Smith to the wrong former Tampa Bay coach. What I keep hearing reminds me a lot more of Sam Wyche than Dungy.
Take what Smith had to say after Sunday’s 19-13 overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
“If you look at the big picture, right now we’re in the same position we were before we started the game," Smith said.
Smith’s point was that the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers lost Sunday and nobody’s running away with the NFC South. But, seriously, does anyone believe the 1-6 Bucs are going to suddenly turn things around and win the division?
Wyche used to make statements like that – and this:
“As a young team, we’re seeing small improvements," Smith said.
Really? I didn’t see any improvement from an offense that didn’t do anything until the fourth quarter. I wasn’t that impressed by a defense that was decent, but far from great, against rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Dungy had a successful run with the Bucs. Wyche did not. Dungy also got off to a rough start in his first season. He stood by his convictions and things eventually turned. Things never turned for Wyche.
Whether Smith turns out to be more like Dungy or Wyche will be determined in time. But Smith doesn’t need to talk about improvement anymore.
He needs some wins.